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44 Essay Prompts for College That Will Get You Inspired

The college application process can be stressful and writing an essay is often the most daunting task. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the blank page in front of you and unsure of how to approach the essay prompt. But take heart, help is here!

Essay Prompts for College

You see…

We’ve put together two excellent lists of essay prompts for college that will get your creative juices flowing. These prompts cover a wide range of topics, from personal experiences and challenges to societal issues and cultural perspectives.

No matter what your background or interests are, there’s a prompt on this list of creative college essay prompts that will help you showcase your unique voice and personality.

So take a deep breath, grab a pen, and get ready to write an essay that will make you stand out to college admissions officers.

What Are College Essay Prompts

College essay prompts are designed to inspire students to write a compelling and unique essay that showcases their personality, experiences, and aspirations. These prompts are typically given by colleges and universities as part of the application process and are meant to help admissions officers get to know the applicant beyond their academic record and test scores.

Moreover, college essay prompts can take many forms, ranging from open-ended questions to more specific prompts that ask students to reflect on a particular experience or topic.


Some prompts may ask students to write about a challenge they have overcome, while others might ask them to discuss their future goals and how they plan to achieve them.

Regardless of the specific prompt, the goal of a college essay is to showcase the student’s writing ability, critical thinking skills, and unique perspective. A well-written essay can help a student stand out from the thousands of other applicants and increase their chances of being accepted into their dream school.

Of course, it’s important for students to carefully read and understand the prompt before starting their essay, and to take the time to brainstorm and organize their thoughts before beginning to write. 

With the right mindset and approach, college essay prompts can be a valuable opportunity for students to showcase their strengths and potential.

How to Choose the Right College Essay Prompt

Choosing the right prompt is crucial to producing an outstanding college essay. With so many prompts available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

The first step is to read through all of the prompts carefully and highlight the ones that stand out to you. Then, take some time to reflect on your experiences, interests, and goals. Consider which prompts align with these areas and which ones you feel passionate about.

It’s also important to consider the story you want to tell. What do you want the admissions officers to know about you? Which prompt will allow you to showcase your unique personality, skills, and accomplishments? Think about how you can use the prompt to tell a compelling story that will capture the reader’s attention and leave a lasting impression.

Another useful tip is to brainstorm ideas for each prompt. Jot down any thoughts or experiences that come to mind and see which ones you can develop into a strong essay. It’s perfectly fine to take some time to mull over the prompts and allow the ideas to percolate. In fact, it’s often during these moments of reflection that the most creative and unique ideas arise.

Ultimately, the right prompt for you is the one that speaks to your authentic voice and allows you to tell your story in the most compelling and memorable way possible. Take your time, trust your instincts, and remember that the college essay is an opportunity to showcase your best self and stand out from the crowd.

30 Essay Prompts for College to Get You Started

Coming up with a college essay topic can be one of the most challenging parts of the application process. You want to make sure your essay is unique, stands out, and showcases your personality. But where to begin? Here are 30 college essay prompts to get you started (no brainstorming required!).

 1. What is a challenge you have faced and how did you overcome it?
 2. Who is someone you admire and why?
 3. What is a book that has impacted you and why?
 4. What is a moment that has changed you as a person?
 5. What is a cause or issue you are passionate about and why?
 6. What is a talent or skill you possess and how has it shaped your life?
 7. What is a place that is important to you and why?
 8. What is a decision you made that was difficult but ultimately the right choice?
 9. What is a lesson you learned the hard way and how has it impacted you?
 10. Who is someone you have helped and how did it make you feel?
 11. What is a mistake you made and what did you learn from it?
 12. What is a dream or goal you have and why is it important to you?
 13. What is a moment that made you realize something important about yourself?
 14. What is a hobby or interest you have and how has it shaped you as a person?
 15. Who is someone you have lost and how has it impacted you?

College Essay Writing Prompts Ideas
 16. What is a cultural experience you have had and how has it impacted you?
 17. What is a fear you have overcome and how did you do it?
 18. What is a place you have traveled to and what did you learn from the experience?
 19. What is a time you stood up for something you believe in and why?
 20. Who is someone who has influenced your life and how?
 21. What is a time you failed and what did you learn from the experience?
 22. What is a lesson you have learned from a family member?
 23. What is a moment that made you appreciate life more?
 24. What is a time you had to adapt to a new situation and how did you handle it?
 25. What is a memory from your childhood that has impacted you as an adult?
 26. What is a time you had to make a sacrifice and why was it worth it?
 27. What is a time you had to work hard for something and how did it pay off?
 28. What is a quality you possess that you are proud of and how has it helped you?
 29. What is a moment that made you realize the importance of friendship?
 30. What is a memory that brings you joy every time you think about it?

Use these essay prompts for college as a starting point to brainstorm ideas for your college essay. Remember, the most important thing is to be authentic and true to yourself in your writing.

Now, let’s explore…

Essay Prompts for College Students: How to Choose the Best One

The college application essay is one of the most important parts of your application. It’s your chance to show the admissions committee who you are and why you would be a good fit for their school. But with so many different essay prompts to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?

Here are a few things to consider when choosing an essay prompt:

  • What are your strengths and interests? The best essay prompts will allow you to showcase your unique qualities and experiences. Think about what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at.
  • What do you want the admissions committee to know about you? What do you want them to remember about you after they read your essay? Choose a prompt that will allow you to share your story and your values.
  • What are you comfortable writing about? Some essay prompts are more challenging than others. If you’re not comfortable writing about a particular topic, it’s probably not the best choice for you.

Once you’ve considered these factors, you can start to narrow down your choices. Here are a few of the most popular college essay prompts:

  • Describe a time when you faced a challenge and how you overcame it. This prompt is a great way to show the admissions committee your resilience and determination.
  • Tell us about a person who has inspired you and why. This prompt is a chance to talk about someone who has made a positive impact on your life.
  • Describe an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. This prompt is a great way to show the admissions committee how you’ve grown as a person.
  • Discuss an issue of personal importance to you and how it has shaped your perspective. This prompt is a chance to share your values and beliefs with the admissions committee.

No matter which essay prompt you choose, make sure to write a thoughtful and well-written essay. The admissions committee wants to get to know you, so give them a reason to remember you.

Additional Tips for Writing a Great College Essay

  • Start early. Don’t wait until the last minute to start writing your essay. Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm, research, and write.
  • Be personal. The college essay is your chance to share your story with the admissions committee. Don’t be afraid to be personal and let your personality shine through.
  • Be specific and detailed. Don’t just tell the admissions committee what happened, show them. Use vivid language and specific examples to bring your story to life.
  • Be clear and concise. Your essay should be well-organized and easy to read. Avoid rambling or going off on tangents.
  • Proofread carefully. Typos and grammatical errors will make you look careless. Take the time to proofread your essay before you submit it.

Writing a college essay can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these tips, you can write a great essay that will help you stand out from the crowd.

14 MORE Essay Prompts for College

  1. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  2. Describe a challenge, setback, or failure you have experienced and how you overcame it.
  3. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the lessons you learned from it.
  4. Discuss your academic interests and how they relate to your career goals.
  5. Describe a person who has had a significant impact on your life and explain why.
  6. Write about a time when you took a risk and how it turned out.
  7. Reflect on a time when you faced a moral dilemma and how you made your decision.
  8. Discuss your extracurricular activities and how they have shaped you as a person.
  9. Write about a book, poem, or work of art that has had a significant impact on you and explain why.
  10. Tell us about a time when you have shown leadership.
  11. Describe a time when you have worked collaboratively to achieve a common goal.
  12. Write about a time when you have had to overcome adversity.
  13. Reflect on a time when you have changed your mind about something.
  14. Discuss your plans for the future and why you are excited about them.

These are just a few examples, and there are many other great essay prompts for college so you should have no problem finding the topic of your choice. The most important thing is to choose a prompt that allows you to tell your story and share your unique perspective.

Oh, and if a prompt isn’t working for you, then pick a different prompt. This is not the time for self-created obstacles. Use your creativity and you may just come up with a surprising way to create the best personal essay you can to ensure your college dreams come true.

Ok, now for some…

Closing Thoughts on Essay Prompts for College Writing

Overall, college essay prompts and essay questions are a great opportunity for students to showcase their achievements, grades, unique qualities and more to help them stand out in the admissions process.

With careful consideration and thoughtful writing, students can use these prompts to create powerful and compelling essays that will impress admissions officers and help them achieve their academic and career goals.

We hope that our two lists of college essay prompts have helped inspire you to write your college essay of your own design.

Choosing a topic can be overwhelming, but with so many different prompts to choose from, there is sure to be one that resonates with you.

Remember to take your time — but keep track of time too — and craft an essay that truly reflects who you are and what you can bring to a college community. When you do, the rewards will be great.

Good luck with your essay and your application process!

103 More Free Writing Prompts

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College Essay Prompts

PS Check out this helpful resource —> 12 Strategies to Writing the Perfect College Essay

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